If you’re new to Michigan, or have recently purchased a car, you may need to understand the vehicle licensing and registration process.
New Registration for Your Michigan Vehicle
To register your vehicle with the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS), you will need your vehicle title, driver’s license, proof of insurance, and money for your registration fee. In general, if you bought your car from a dealership, the dealer will handle registration paperwork for you. You have to register your vehicle immediately if you’re relocating from out-of-state. Your registration fees are calculated according to the age of your vehicle.
Vehicle Inspections for Michigan
Michigan does not currently require emissions testing.
Michigan Registration Renewal
You will need to renew your registration annually with the Michigan SOS before it expires. Your registration will expire on your birthday for all individually-owned vehicles. You will usually be notified that your term is coming to an end by mail or email, with a renewal notice, about 45 days before expiration.
If a PIN was included in your renewal notice, you can renew online with the Online Renewal Plus system or the Express SOS system (Online Services are here). You can also renew in-person at your local SOS branch office or a self-serve station. You have to bring your driver’s license and proof of insurance.
Titling a Vehicle in Michigan
When you purchase a car, you will receive a title, signed by the seller. To transfer your car title with the Michigan SOS, you’ll have to provide that title, along with proof of insurance and identification. You will also have to pay all applicable fees. Select SOS stations offer “instant titling.”
Titling fees are:
- $15 for a title
- $15 for late fees
- $5 additional, for instant titles
- $15 for a title replacement
- 6% use tax
Driver’s Licenses in Michigan
When you move to Michigan, you will need to surrender your out-of-state license and obtain a Michigan State license. New residents are allowed to transfer their out-of-state licenses, as long as the license is valid or has been expired for four years or less. With this license, you will waive the driving and written test component of the normal Michigan licensure process.
If your out-of-state driver’s license is valid or has been expired for 4 years or less, your driving and written tests may be waived and you may be able to simply transfer your license over. To obtain your license, go to the SOS and:
- Provide proof of your Social Security number, U.S. citizenship, and identity
- Provide proof of your Michigan residence
- Pass the vision, written, and road sign tests
- Pay the $25 licensing fee
Michigan Auto Insurance Requirements
No fault insurance is required for every vehicle in Michigan. This means you are required to have personal injury protection, property protection, and residual bodily injury/ property damage liability insurance. You will be fined for driving without insurance. You are required to have:
- $20,000 for injuries or death to an individual
- $40,000 for injuries or death per accident for multiple people
- $10,000 for property damage in another state